How did Jupiter get so big? Astronomers now think it “ate” chunks of other planets | Science and technology news
They don’t call Jupiter “King of the Planets” for nothing. It’s massive, very heavy, and now scientists think it ate chunks of other planets to get as big as it is.
That’s right, the gas giant, named after Greek and Roman gods, is said to have absorbed a number of small “planetary tensimals” on its way to claiming its place as the largest planet in the solar system.
The theory comes from an international team of astronomers led by Yamila Miguel of the SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research and is outlined in an article in Astronomy & Astrophysics.
It follows news from last year that NASA scientists are stunned by the planet’s discovery The Great Red Spot is accelerating.
When NASA’s Juno space mission arrived at Jupiter in 2016, scientists caught a glimpse of the fifth planet’s remarkable beauty from the Sun.
Next to the famous Great Red Spot, Jupiter It turns out to be riddled with hurricanes, giving it almost the look and mysticism of a Van Gogh painting.
But what lay beneath the outer layer wasn’t immediately clear.
However, Juno was able to measure variations in gravitational pull over different locations on the planet’s surface, giving astronomers information about what lay beneath.
What they found was not a homogeneous and well-mixed composition, but a higher concentration of “metals” – elements heavier than hydrogen and helium – towards the center of the planet.
The team of astronomers say the most likely explanation is that Jupiter absorbed a multitude of “planetary stimuli” and kept getting bigger.
Planetesimals belong to a class of bodies thought to have coalesced into Earth and the other planets after condensing from concentrations of diffuse matter early in the history of the Solar System.